Building a Taco Brand that Stands Out

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Today we are talking to someone who knows exactly what their brand is and has capitalized on it with precision. Everyone loves tacos and Alex has discovered a way to merge that with his business helping people find places to live in Austin.

Alex helps people find places to live in the Austin area and he has pretty great taco recommendations too.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • How do you make sure everyone knows your name?
  • How are top agents thriving during a recession?
  • Why you need to be making content and developing a brand.

Resource

Visit Alex's Website

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Transcript:

So how do you track new business, you constantly don't have to chase it. Hi, I'm Mike Cuevas to real estate marketing. And this podcast is all about building a strong personal brand people have come to know, like trust and most importantly, refer. But remember, it is not their job to remember what you do for a living. It's your job to remind them. Let's get started. What's up ladies and gentlemen, welcome. Another episode of the real estate marketing podcast folks we're chatting about today is we're gonna go into branding. I want to talk about the importance of branding. I'm gonna tell you guys a true story. The guests that we have on today, I've never met him before I met him, what, five minutes ago. And we get pitched all the time to get on the show, I probably get four or five, six different inquiries. Hey, can we get on a real estate marketing podcast? And there's a lot of these podcasting companies that just book other people. And I always look at I do always usually do a quick glance, like, I'll look at an email. And I'll do the quick summary on the individual, whether it's a business and I'll be like, are they trying to sell their shit were they trying to do here were they really want to get on the podcast for and they only look for people that offer something that they could teach your audience. And I knew instantly when we got this guest on. I loved his branding. It resonated with me, it spoke to me, I didn't have to look anything. I just looked at the branding and the name of his company. And I'm like, book them, because I understood that he knew what attention meant. I understood I could tell that he knew marketing very well. And he had me at Taco. So you know, what we're going to chat about today is branding. And our guest today runs in apartment locating service. If you've been following the show the last couple of weeks. I'm telling everyone the riches are in the niches in a recession. If you don't think a recession is coming in is coming. We're about to get our asses handed to us. And the people that are going to be ready to adapt to that market will have the best time ever, but those that are not working on their systems, their business, what they're going to do in 2023 right now you're gonna get your ass kicked. I'm warning you right now I've been in this market before. I'm trying to sound the alarm because there's two areas I want you guys to concentrate in. I keep saying this every week one is going to be on your database on your database that'll get you through the recession. Number two is pick a niche. The riches are in the niches especially in a recession. And one of my top agents I'll tell story for introduce our guest, one of my top agents back in the day. Remember, this was like 2008 2009 Her name was Lauren Chu. She's in Chicago. Lauren, if you're listening, shout out to you. When 2010 11 Exodus 2008 2009 I was looking for more agents were crushing short sales, we took on a niche. And we started adapting to what the market was given us. And we went to where the transactions were occurring, which was the distressed market. Lauren at that time, I went out and recruited her cuz I knew she was a good agent. But her business was struggling. She went into the apartment niche, and she started renting apartments and she was making 20 grand a month just in the recession, she was making more money renting apartments and she was selling condos in downtown Chicago. So I tell you guys this because you're gonna see a lot of niches come up. And don't miss that opportunity because the riches are in the niches in a recession. And that's where we're headed. So without further ado, we're gonna go ahead and introduce our guest today. Mr. Alexander concepts she on that say correctly? Yep, perfect. Why don't you tell everybody who you are. Give me a little bit of intro what you do, and I got all kinds of questions for you. Cool. So

yeah, my name is Alexandra Concepcion. I run an apartment locating brokerage in Texas called taco street locating primarily based out of Austin. But I've got satellite operations over in Dallas in Houston been running the business for about five years close over 400 deals so yeah, kind of just stuck to this one niche and taken it as far as I can make it.

Do you do any sales? Are you just doing just leasing?

I don't do any sales. Love it.

It's smart. Like we get into this thing where agents like Oh, I gotta sell because we see Josh Altman on Bravo and we think we have to go out there there's there's a lot of ways to make money in real estate guys. And it's not always where it's not always like being the sales leader of the industry. There's a lot of like silent killers in this industry. Alright, so let's get into this for I got to talk about the branding, because that's what got you on the show. And it's what I think you probably my guess is when people then you have to go look at his website, right? It's called taco Street. locating.com. And first off what I loved about it was like, I'm like, taco Street. Like it's just so different, and that it stopped my attention. I'm like, fuck, but from Taco street locating, I understand so much about you as an individual. You know what I mean? Like I knew you're outside the box, you're probably a little bit of fun. And I could have you could have came up with anything you could have done. Apartment finders, Austin. And you could have done blink, blink, blink real estate, apartment finding service, but that all falls on deaf ears. How important was it? If you look in hindsight of strategically picking that name versus going with other and did it push the needle?

Oh, man, I have so many things to say. One won't back at all. The first thing was, I kind of just wanted to amuse myself. The idea of having a taco theme business was too absurd not to do. And I think and I think it actually makes a lot of sense. Like, I don't know if you've been to Austin, but it's an amazing food city. Taco city. I don't know if it's going to Chicago. But you go to any street, you can get tacos. And you just flip the words around. Street taco, taco Street. There's the brand

100% Yeah. Did you are you like a taco fanatic yourself?

Yeah, I'm, I'm a food fanatic period. Yeah, I try. I'm like a low budget Anthony Bourdain. I basically use this business as a conspiracy for me to travel the world. And do Anthony Bourdain type things. So yeah, it was one just I think, for my soul important that I could bring my actual self to the business, instead of some manufactured personality. I couldn't, it's this is the only way I could have done it. But the real like strategic reason is I think of everything in survival first framework. And when it comes to branding, reputation, I have to it stand out or die. Yeah. Because I don't believe in competition. Because if I approach things with a competitive mindset, I would look at what other people are doing and try to outdo what they're doing. But the reality when a client based business like this or any kind of anything, any business The trophy is a person and people have choice. Yep. So it's not I'm never gonna get beaten by another business. The my risk it's not being chosen. So the strategy is how do I make myself a replaceable or less replaceable? And so that I have to do things other people can't or won't do.

100% you guys listen, replay that back like and just what he just unpacked there was quite a bit. First off, he says, Look, I needed to adapt my personality in the business. So basically, I can be excited about it. I needed to reflect it and I want you guys to look at your own real estate business right now the exact same way. Are you really marketing your broker's brand like I see us all the time in real estate you probably see it in Austin quite a bit where people are like, I worked for Cole banker, I worked for exp like exp like like there are so many agents I have a hard on for exp right now. And nothing bad. They're running a great organization. I'm not talking trash about any of it. But they their marketing. And they're really smart and how they they built the culture around it, where they're just pumping exp at exp right now is an energy. Real is like an energy. People are joining these companies because of the energy and the buzz and what they stand for, not what the name is. But when it comes to a consumer facing side, I just did my podcast last week on this 96% of consumers are going to hire the individual not the person they hang their flag with. Which means that if you're out there if one if you don't even have your own branding or logo, like you're way behind the times, you're an individual and just because you work at a brokerage doesn't mean you don't have your own brand 96% of people are gonna hire you over though brokerage. And that's in this type of business like people, whether you're looking for apartments to go rent or your houses buy, you're gonna do it with someone you can envision working with, right? You have to first form that connection with people before you get the opportunity to serve them. And that's why branding is so important. If not, you're just like, like going to Syria, like I look at real estate agents today is just like if you go down the cereal box line and you just go into cereal at the grocery store. There's a million different cereal boxes, right? But the cereal box aisle I'm talking about is the one at Aldi that just says cereal. There's no branding on any of them. Right. So what do you think? When you What do you tie in this taco street into your customer experience to do you guys have systems in place that like like you buy them taco gifts, stuff like that, like walk me through sort of beyond the brand, how do you live it through? How do you create that I experience in an apartment finding service.

Yeah, it's, I take people off the tacos all the time. And that's part of that's a lot. It's a big, it's a fun part of the business is I get to be someone's ambassador to the city. I'm often the first person they made friends with when they moved to a new town. So I get to spend time with them one on one, shop around town, get tacos with them, or whatever. And there's a part of the process. There's a lot of food theme things in my process. One of my research phases is something I call an appetizer list, kind of just a beginner research phase. I've got really good food guides. On the taco street website, there is something I built called the mega map, which is basically my entire brain in digital form, at least when it comes to Austin. So it's like my food recommendations, my apartment recommendations, pretty much everything.

So you're creating a lot of content around this as well. You're not just like waiting for people to come to you. You're like out there, creating content bringing people back. And what do you take in like the positioning of a tour guide? Like you said,

Yeah, I'm sometimes it feels like, I'm an overpaid tour guide, which I'm totally fine with. But one thing I'm strategic about is something I call front end value. Compared to like back end value, and like back end value is like, hire me first, then I'll help you. And that's most service businesses. Whereas front end value is I'll help you first and then you'll hire me, because you trust me. So one thing I figured out was I was having the same conversations over and over and over again. And I'm like, what if I just made videos about this. So I made videos and blog posts that basically take the conversations I have over and over again, and just digitize them and promote like another functional standpoint. It gets the information out of my head and into the business. Again, it's, I think of everything through like a survival first standpoint, and a primary function of that. It's my website, my YouTube channel, my blogs are basically backup data storage for my brain.

Yeah. And you're, he's you guys, he's repurposing everything. So like, I'm on his site right now. And you're looking, I'm gonna give you a couple of the, like, if you're not creating content, and you have to create content, it's the basis of this podcast like we create content, real estate marketing dude, as a video content creation company, for people in the real estate business. Right referral suite, which is our software is a content creation company that helps agents farm their database through direct mail, video, email, and social media. That's a little shout out and plug if you like what you just heard there, go and visit either site. But what he's describing to you guys, is the basis of content marketing, and content marketing, if I started, this is the baseline of our whole brand is I started this in 2013. This podcast started in 14 2014. This is content, right? Like and we're doing this, like, I don't want to do this podcast right now. Right? I'm enjoying talking to you. But it's another jour i have to do but I do it because content creation is part of my job. And we're gonna give a bunch of cool, valuable tips today, to everyone who's listening. We're doing like 30,000 35,000 downloads a month. And some of those people that get that tip, they're gonna go to Alex's website, and they're going to click on it, and maybe somebody goes even moving to Austin, some might reach out to Alex, but hey, can I join your team? Right? But that's because he's creating content. First, I'm creating content first, to establish and receive the permission to ask for their business, or the opportunity to have a conversation about their business. Without content, it's just a sales pitch, isn't it?

Yeah. And another functional thing that happens. It's my first calls used to be like 2030 minutes. But nowadays, buy a ton people get to me. And they say, Hey, I watched your videos. I read your guides. I'm like, Oh, you're hired. Great. I know I've one. Yep. And that would have been like a half hour sales call is like 510 minutes. And it's the same result. Because I don't need to buy their trust. I don't need to convince them. They're they've already they're already sold. It because yeah, Have a see me as a person as a human. Like some corporate robot, oh, I It's relatable. I like this guy. Yeah,

just relatable like people like, oh, I can trust this guy. Your website, folks today is your business card people aren't visiting your website to look for properties for sale, they're visiting their website to interview you without speaking to you. And the more content you have on there you write, like when people join our services either already, if they already know me, and they've been on the podcast, they're like 80%, more likely just to sign up on the spot. If it's a stranger, and they have no idea, the brand, the closing ratios, and their playing ratios are just way less. And it makes sense like people want ultimately people just want to know who they're working with. I was just doing some stats on this when I was working on a presentation. And it went in it was to the tune of regardless of the age groups, it was over 80 It was like 78% 8180 to 85 79% different age groups of people hire the first person they meet with, because nobody wants to like go out and be like in there. Everyone's like, oh, I need a super duper listing presentation, I'm going up against other agents like on a listing presentation, only, like less than five less than one or 2% of people interviewed three plus agents. It was like less than 4% interview two or something like that most people just close with the first one they meet with so folks make it easier to help make up their mind. Right, all you need to do is humanize your brand. Let people know you know what you're doing. And that's 99% of the battle. This is not rocket science.

Yeah, and there's a few other ways I think about it. With taco street, I own the brand. I'm not renting another company's brand. And I think ownership of your core assets is one of the most important survival protocols you can have. Because my brand contains my reputation. And that contains the relationships I have with my clients and the way people feel about me. But yeah, not renting another brokerages brand I've never yeah, I've just never been into that.

Most agents today like so many agents don't even have a website. And then they just use the you know, the the website on their brokerages page, which is great for your broker, because you're building their brand not your own. It's the same thing as like when an agent has a sign, or listing, they go out in they put their broker just sign they have none of their own brand name. Well, you're just you're empowering your brokers brand again, you need to put your personality into this stuff. It is so so important. As long as you're playing the long game, like there's a difference between agents running, you're running a business, dude, you get it? Right, but most agents are just chasing a check. The difference is, is everything you do is for the back end of the business, even if it's content, like he's not just creating a video like he's spent all this time building, if you go I'm on a site right now he spent all this time building this mega maps thing. And then when he started, you know, if you look on this on his website, he has like 33 listings 51 listings at 60. There's a ton of content that he has here. But he had to start somewhere. You started with the first one, right? That's the people's biggest hurdle. Everyone wants to get to where you're at. But no one wants to put in the work to do it.

Yeah, I see that a lot in apartment locating. The thing is apartment locating isn't hard. But it's also this. What makes it easy also makes it hard. And a lot of people just don't do the basic foundational work to get ahead. Yeah. And there's the training isn't very good. Most brokerages wants you to be more of an employee than kind of running your own ship. Yeah, it's a lot of nonsense going on in the business.

How are you finding most of your clients now? Like I know, I'm sure a lot of people find you online, your YouTube channel and all that. But like when you started out, like where did you start? Where did you find clients when you go when you started for anyone that's like, it sounds like a good idea. But it's such an uphill battle. How am I gonna get there by starting right now? Dammit.

Yeah, that's a good question. Early on, like the first few months I was using like Craigslist, just to find leads. But nowadays, there's a lot of like good syndicated advertising platforms. You can either pay for them or like just post a bunch of ads. That's something you can do like now and get leads that way. It's how a lot of people start off. A lot of people start off doing that, but never really go to the next step of building their own brand getting their own reputation. So there's a difference. There's so there's Something I make a distinction between rented marketing channels and owned marketing channels. So early on, I had to rely on rented channels that I didn't own or control like Craigslist or parkruns.com or whatever. And those channels like they're powerful, but they're fragile. And I knew in the long term if I wanted to control my business and really own my business, I needed to own my marketing channels. So that's why I invested early on in the website because I knew I couldn't just rely on these other channels I didn't control so now my website generates a ton of leads. And like people that the if you want to have a little bit of fun, the the lead form that I have it's pretty fun to go through. It's It's fun, it's silly it's very effective. Yeah,

it's different. Yeah, here I'm going to do it right now walk people through it Yeah, I was just like a type form.

No, no, I used to me way better so called involve me. Yeah, cool. Yeah, it's fun. It's really customizable.

Everything about his brand you guys when you go on his site is like so onpoint like everything like there's tacos in the background? No, it'd be really fun like if you were to do like, like preview listing shoots and just had like the taco like, what would this taco look like in your kitchen? Oh, man, that would be so fucking fun like if you had if you just had like the like the kitchen but there's just a taco like a listing tour but there's just tacos everywhere. But just like the tacos in the amenities the photos there's like a taco in the pool drinking chillin there's a taco in the gym working out there's a taco like all over and all those amenity things like that would be that would fucking crush.

Yeah, I've only got like the tip of the iceberg of what's

got so there's so many different things you can do talk of trucks. Tell me what else you're doing. What so give me some of your outside the box. So you got this brand new. You got all this? Give me some like the crazy shit you've done? Like, what kind of any events you had that were like super duper successful, like any anything outside of the box. And you've they started doing that. Good or bad?

I haven't really done events. The funny thing is, I'm a lot better at branding and then I am a self promotion. You won't see anything real estate related on my Instagram. Yeah. For what, for better and worse. I'm more of a product oriented person. Which gives me a different perspective of the business. Yeah, whereas like, I want to make sure the thing is as good as possible, in this case, the website or the actual service.

Let's unpack that really quick. You just had something on the fucking head and it was huge. Branding versus self promotion. This is the name of the game right here. Um, are you an introvert? A little bit analytical.

I'm a lot of things. I wouldn't say I'm an introvert because I actually love being around people. I'm very introspective. Which means I'm in my head all the time. I just have kind of a different way of thinking about it. But yeah, you put me like in a party in a whole like big room. I'm probably gonna like wallflower to the back. I'm not giving me like the center of the party super connecting with everyone. So don't feel

Yeah. Yeah. Here's, here's everyone's biggest some branding versus self promotion. Now, you created taco street locating and you have no problem screaming taco street reload or locating from the rooftop, right. But it would probably be a lot harder for you to market this if this was called Alexander Concepcion. Yeah, because it's your personnel. And that's, that's the number one problem that everybody has in creating content, is they don't realize most agents will you first you have to identify a brand and something you stand for. You got to find that one thing. And Alexander's world it's tacos in my world is dude, what is that one thing for you. But then secondly, is you have to scream it from the rooftops. And in real estate people don't realize that this face you have here this thing that God gave you is the brand. And the more you put it out there, the more business you're gonna get. But most people don't see themselves as a brand. They see themselves as a father, a dad, they see themselves as a sinner, whatever they may be, they don't look at themselves as a brand, but 96% of people hire you, not the brokerage you're with, therefore you are.

Yeah, so there's a few ways to think about that.

I'm the same way it's easier for me to market real estate marketing dude than it is for me to market Mike Cuevas because I hate self promotion. I hate like I don't even take that many photos of myself on social and I'm not shy, I just don't like, say me, me, me, me I like saying I want to give to you more I want to pour into people. And I struggle with that as well. But what branding versus self promotion you have to realize is that once you identify your brand, it's all promotion. 24/7. The difference is, you're not doing in a in a in a sales type way you're doing it through story through marketing through content. self promotion is saying buy, buy, sell, buy, sell, buy, sell, buy, sell, come rent for me, come rent for me, branding and marketing is don't forget I exist. Oh, by the way, here's what I can help you with. There's a major difference in within, in that you guys very well said. Sorry. I don't mean to cut you off. I don't know where we're at. But that was super good point you made. You were getting to like anything crazy. You did, I believe.

Um, I don't have a lot of crazy stories and apartment locating honestly, it's a it's a, it's a low drama business. Transactions are fairly straightforward. Things don't get crazy, like they would in traditional real estate sales. So there aren't a lot of experiences that stand out as like, really, off the grid wild and crazy things. If transactions don't go through, like, Yeah, it sucks. For a lot of them, like, yeah, I have a great time with a client, they apply to an apartment, we hang out. A lot of them I've become good friends with. But overall, it's not a high trauma business. Which is a big reason I do apartment locating. It's because it's just a lower stress lower. It's just less of an emotional roller coaster.

I hated real estate.

Right? And I don't plan on getting into real estate sales. I'm planning on sticking to apartment locating. I like the brand that I have. I like that the brand is something people like that it's unique. It's a valuable resource for people moving to the city. But yeah, it's given me a lot of joy and pleasure. Realizing that I that my crazy ideas can work. And if more than anything else, this business has been a canvas for my creativity for like my weirdness and silliness. And for that I'm just really grateful to what the business has been for me.

It's awesome. Love it. It looks like you're enjoying yourself, man. I mean, you could hear it. He's like he's living his brand, folks. This is how it's done. Alexander, do you have any closing thoughts? For anybody?

Yeah. For anyone thinking about surviving the upcoming recession apartment locating is a great niche to look into for a wide variety of reasons. Yep. I could explain a little bit more if you'd like.

Yeah, go ahead. You have a you have a course up where you could for those you guys I want to take him up on it. Go ahead Tom a little bit more about it.

Yeah, so there is a website that I have called apartment locating mastery.com It's basically a how to guide on how to start apartment locating and I've got a free basics course that just explains what the business is how it works. So you can decide if going down this rabbit hole is worth it. Because it's not for everyone. And the last thing would want to do is try to get someone into the business who shouldn't be on business. Yeah. But ya know, it's uh there's I'm not really worried about the recession for myself. I wouldn't

you're good. Yeah, at least things gonna be up you're in a good spot. People are gonna have to live somewhere you're out you're all good. You're safe. No doubt do it I got I just want to market tacos all day so good. Well, hey, why don't you give them that site where they can find you and then we'll get this rep.

Yeah, it's the brokerage is Taco street located golf COMM With the apartment locating training course is apartment locating mastery.com

Appreciate it man. Appreciate your insight. Folks, take what you get here today. You're in the fourth quarter. We're getting to that holiday season. Regardless of what the market is each and every year when thanksgiving to New Year's. This is the time to work on your business. Generally things are a little slow but probably extra slower this year. But with the holidays this is true in any market regardless of what it's doing. Spend some time to work on your brand like if you guys need help, will brand you this is what I do. I'm happy to tell you who the hell you Learn how to market it. But you got to make the time you got to invest in your in yourself not only just with money, but strategy, like that's the most important part of this business, the brand is everything. Because the rest is just a commodity and most people are asking themselves What the hell is the difference between you and your competition? Is it that you do it when a taco away? Or is it that you do it in your way, like whatever that is, that's what people remember. So thank you for sharing that. Very good. And folks, if you have any additional questions about video marketing, or you'd like to check out our new software, please go ahead and do it. It's called referral suite.com That's referral suite SW E T. And we just launched it and it'll put you on a map and make sure everyone that you know doesn't forget what you do for a living so you could keep attracting more clients and stop chasing transactions. Appreciate guys listen to their episode. We'll see you guys next week. Have a good one like thank you for watching another episode of the real estate marketing dude podcast. If you need help with video or finding out what your brand is, visit our website at WWW dot real estate marketing do.com We make branding and video content creation simple and do everything for you. So if you have any additional questions, visit the site, download the training, and then schedule time to speak with a dude and get you rollin in your local marketplace. Thanks for watching another episode of the podcast. We'll see you next time.

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